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The Death of Conscience

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The Death of Conscience By Rebecca Hagelin

(from: http://www.worldviewtimes.com/article.php/articleid-5224/Brannon-Howse/Rebecca-Hagelin)

Our teenagers are more sexually active than any generation of youth before them. They also are consuming more pornography and compromising basic moral standards more often. It seems that many of them have lost not only their innocence, but their conscience, too.

The plethora of negative and immoral behaviors glorified by a media world that’s gone stark raving mad — combined with graphic, non-judgmental sex education and a highly sexualized culture in general — causes many of them to lose understanding of what is wrong and what is right.

When a young child’s sensibilities are constantly violated, and he begins to ignore the natural pangs of guilt after yielding to cultural pressures, he can end up being miserable, and begins to develop a hard heart and weak spirit.

If we as parents blindly turn our own hearts away from them because we’re scared of confrontation, or because we’re too lazy to do “the hard stuff” like fight for their integrity, we have a hand in dooming their young spirits to inner torment. And, ultimately, if the pattern continues, to the loss of basic decency and sensitivity to evil.

In chapter 32, the Psalmist reflects on the misery that comes with ignoring a guilty conscience:
“When I kept things to myself, I felt weak deep inside me. I moaned all day long. Day and night you punished me, my strength was gone as in the summer heat.”

Do you really want your child to live that way?

It’s critical as a parent to take control and do everything in your power to make certain that the culture does not molest your child’s young mind. Setting standards for media consumption can help avoid a lot of regrets, especially when it comes to the evil of pornography. But since we are all sinners, we also need to learn to recognize when our children might be feeling uncomfortable and guilty — and offer them hope and a way out of their despair.

Talk often about God’s miracles of forgiveness, redemption and restoration. These concepts are foreign to our modern world, yet they are as tranformational today as they were for the Pslamist and when God offered his forgiveness to a sinful world as he sent his son to atone for the sins of all who would accept him.

I John 1:9 promises: “When we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Our children experience the beautiful gifts of wisdom and grace when we help them develop their conscience and teach them how to respond to feelings of guilt. We need to be bold about sharing with them the life-giving power and joy that comes with confession. Tears of repentance over wrongs done makes our hearts strong, yet maleable in the hands of a a loving God. Ignoring our sins turns us into desperate, weak souls with hearts of stone.

In Psalm 32, the author actually begins the passage with what we can look forward to when we confess our sins to the loving and merciful God:
“Happy is the person whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs have been pardoned. Happy is the person whom the Lord does not consider guilty, and in whom there is nothing false.”

The forgiveness and joy that comes with sincere repentance is the  best news mankind has ever heard! Have your own children heard it?‬

Can Sin Cost You Your Salvation

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Recently I was asked about whether a repeated sin such as looking at pornography will cost you your salvation.  The simple answer to this question is NO!  The longer answer, which I gave, I have reproduced below to encourage and help anyone who feels they may have lost their so great salvation. 

Dear (name deleted),

You cannot lose your salvation! It is not like your car keys where you put them down and then don’t know where they are. Your salvation is a new birth that creates a new you. You cannot lose your salvation because you cannot lose you – you is who you are.

Your salvation is you – it is you being alive spiritually having been born again and now living in him. However, you can reject the life of Christ from inside you and if you do this intelligently, deliberately and freely as a mature Christian, you will essentially die spiritually again and then there will be no more redemption for you.

This is found in Hebrews 6.3-4 among other places. But sin will not cost you your salvation. It might harden your heart and lead you to the place where you willingly reject God, but it in itself won’t make God reject you, to say otherwise is to insult the precious redemptive work of our Lord Jesus at Calvary.

So why should we not sin, and how can we avoid sin? The answer is in Romans 6. Romans 6.1-13 tells us that sin is not part of our nature. The more you meditate on the fact that you are in Christ, that you have been redeemed, that love coarses through your veins, that you are spiritual alive, that you are the righteousness of God, the less attraction sin will have on you. It is not normal or natural for you to sin. It is like an eagle banging its head on a tree – it is painful, it is not part of its nature. Just because someone else did it, doesn’t mean you have to.

Sin is powerful, sin is attractive, sin is pleasureable. I know that and you know that. However, Christ is more powerful, more attractive and more pleasureable. Seek your peace in Christ.

Keep confessing outloud: “I am righteous, I am wise, I am love. I am born again and my life is pure and peaceable.” Say it again and again. Keep these Words in your heart and mouth day and night and you will have great success.

Romans 6.14 onwards show us that sin makes us its slave. When we have a desire to sin, whether it is to lose our temper, act greedily, or watch porn, there is a lie in our minds that says if I do it this one LAST time, it will satiate the hunger.

Sin will never satiate hunger – it will only ever increase the hunger and make it worse. Fill up your time with worship and with prayer and with fellowship. Talking about pornography specifically, pornography is a substitute for intimacy. Not necessarily sexual intimacy. To really beat a pornography addiction, you need people around you who are like minded who care for you and think like you. People you can call day and night who will just be there.

Hope this helps,

Ben

Staying Pure in a Fornication Nation

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You don’t have to compromise with our sex-saturated culture. By God’s grace you can stay in the sexual safety zone.

There were some raised eyebrows last week on the campus of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., when I hosted a special meeting—the day before Valentine’s Day—on the subject of fornication. That’s not a word you normally associate with a lecture topic, but hey, I had to get attention. And since the hormones on most college campuses are as dense as Florida humidity, I figured the kids would be all ears when I attacked the subject.

I was right. At times you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium, especially when I talked about how most American young people aren’t even sure how to define sexual activity anymore. (Today’s college seniors were nine years old when President Clinton tried to redefine sex during the Lewinsky scandal.) At other times the students burst into nervous laughter, especially when I told how I gave my son-in-law a lecture about sexual boundaries in front of 700 of his classmates when he was dating my oldest daughter.

“Losing one’s virginity used to be a serious issue, but today fornication is just a standard sitcom plot device.”

I thought it might be helpful to share these key points with a wider audience, since many of the readers of this column are single. And even if you are married, it would be good to take a quick refresher course in self-control—since we live in a nation that is losing all moral restraint. Here’s what I told the group at Southeastern:

1. Don’t redefine your morality. I’ve seen Christian young people roll their eyes when I say the word “fornication” because it sounds so much like King James English—sort of like “sodomy,” another word we avoid in our PC culture. But we need to be careful how we bend the meaning of words. Terms that are in the Bible should not vanish from our modern vocabulary just because they offend some of the hosts of The View.

When “fornication” is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (“For this is the will of God … that ye should abstain from fornication” KJV), the Greek word is porneia. It’s the root word for pornography, but it means a lot more than sexually explicit material. It includes sex between unmarried people, homosexuality, bestiality, prostitution, incest and adultery.

According to the apostle Paul, sex as God intended is limited to marriage between one man and one woman. Period. The Episcopal Church has no right to broaden the definition. Neither do Bill Clinton, Newsweek, Oprah or HBO. Don’t let moral relativism infect your brain.

2. Don’t sell your birthright. Losing one’s virginity used to be a serious issue, but today fornication is just a standard sitcom plot device. It’s considered normal. People are considered weird if they didn’t have sex by age 14; and if anybody dares to teach abstinence in a public school he is labeled a Neanderthal.

In TV shows like Desperate Housewives, Nip/Tuck or Grey’s Anatomy, life revolves around who’s in bed with whom. There’s even a TV series on Showtime called Californication that follows the life of a sex addict. What TV producers don’t usually explore are the consequences of immorality. Audiences probably wouldn’t laugh if the couples hooking up on these shows had to deal with genital warts, gonorrhea, AIDS, abortions, post-abortion trauma or clinical depression—all real fallout from illicit sexual behavior.

If you are a single person today—whether you have lost your virginity or not—it’s time to reclaim your purity and save sex for marriage. We’ve forgotten the story of Esau, who forfeited his birthright through one stupid act. He traded his inheritance for a bowl of stew. You really can throw your life away through one act of fornication.

3. Get ruthless with your weaknesses. Jesus sounded stricter than a Catholic school principal when He talked to His disciples about self-discipline. He told them: “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matt. 5:29, NASB).

Jesus was not advocating self-mutilation. He was using sarcasm to emphasize how serious sin is—and He urged His followers to take radical steps to avoid the snares of temptation. In our sex-soaked society, it is more imperative than ever that we draw boundaries.

Got a problem with pornography? If you can’t discipline yourself to avoid offending Web sites, get rid of your computer. Do you end up engaging in heavy petting or intercourse with your girlfriend or boyfriend after a few minutes of kissing? Draw lines and stick to them. And if you can’t stick to the rules, ask for intervention. If you don’t you are headed for spiritual shipwreck.

4. Live a transparent life. The Bible never advocates that we battle sin alone. We need each other. James 5:16 says: “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” In some cases you will never get victory over temptation until you share your struggle with another Christian and seek counsel and prayer.

So many believers today are living with secrets. Many women (and men too) were molested as children by a relative or friend—yet they have never shared their pain. Many young guys are trapped in a dark world of pornography and masturbation but are too ashamed to admit it. Many Christians struggle with same-sex attraction yet they fear that if they confess their thoughts they will be rejected.

You will never discover the abundant life Christ promised until you clean out your spiritual closets and deal with all your dirty laundry. Total forgiveness and cleansing is available, but confession and repentance must come first.

5. Develop the fear of God. Paul had sober words for the Thessalonians who ignored his admonitions about sexual sin. He told them: “He who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thess. 4:8). It couldn’t be clearer: If you disregard sexual boundaries, you are on thin ice.

What we desperately need in the church today is a conscience awakening. Too many Christians have warped judgment—and they don’t even feel godly remorse when they break God’s law. If you have any form of sexual sin in your life, flee it immediately and make a 180-degree turn. He will grant you the grace to live a life of purity.

 

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.

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